1984, cast members win accolades at summer theater fest

Students compete at AACT with Lucas drama department

COMMANDING+ATTENTION.+As+a+cast+member+1984%2C+junior+Cameron+Collier+acts+onstage+during+the+AACT+drama+festival.+

Courtesy of LLMS drama

COMMANDING ATTENTION. As a cast member 1984, junior Cameron Collier acts onstage during the AACT drama festival.

By Katherine Lee, Willis High School

After months and months of practice and miles and miles of travel, the lights dim in the auditorium, curtains open and the spotlight illuminates the stage. The members of the cast takes deep breaths, preparing themselves to take the stage for the last time after spending almost two years together perfecting the play. 

Brothers junior Cameron Collier and sophomore Aiden Collier joined members of the Lynn Lucas Drama Department as they performed and competed in the American Association of Community Theater (AACT) fest located in Pennsylvania in July. Also joining the cast were sophomores Zoe Pickens, Colton Land, Marshall Neiderhoffer, Timothy Gunn, Douglas Fairbanks, Jacob Shanks and Jennifer Talley and freshman Janice Talley and Samantha Joann.

We all never stopped laughing and I think that is what kept us all sane.”

— Colton Lane

The journey that ended on the stage in Pennsylvania, started years earlier as a One Act Play for Lynn Lucas Middle School. Lucas drama teacher Susan Burge entered the play via video for consideration by the AACT.  

“We had rehearsals for four hours about once a month for a majority of the time but practices were scheduled more frequent the closer we got to competition,” Pickens said. “Practices were long but overall worth it.”

Working so long on one project can make students lose sight of the main goal. 

“When we first started the entire cast was not focused, and we really never got anything done,” Cameron Collier said. “But about two weeks before we left for Pennsylvania everyone became serious, and we made a lot of progress.”

In those two weeks before Pennsylvania, the cast realized how important this was to them and what the play really meant. 

“We were all really dedicated to our roles and the play as a whole,” Jennifer Talley said. “We all kind of learned what the script was really saying.”

At the final competition, the cast’s countless hours of standing under theater lights were finally acknowledged when they heard their castmate’s name being called for being awarded an Outstanding Achievement in Acting. 

“I was not expecting to win at all,” Cameron Collier said. “To be honest I was really expecting one of my castmates to win over me or someone from another group, but it was pretty cool.”

Spending so much time together on and off stage can create friendships that will last for a lifetime. 

“My favorite thing about the overall play was probably how close I became with everyone,” Land said. “We all never stopped laughing and I think that is what kept us all sane.”

This story was originally published on The Voice of the Wildkats on August 28, 2019.